RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL 2018 NEW OPENING NIGHT THE COACH website review: Olga Tolkatcheva
Russian Resurrection movie festival
The Russian Resurrection movie festival is celebrating its fifteenth anniversary this year. Melbourne’s opening night on the 9th of November at ACMI was a fitting ceremony, full of fabulous entertainment and a joyful after-party. We are privileged in Australia to be able to participate in such multi-cultural events.
This highly anticipated festival is an annual tradition where Australian audiences can see the best of modern Russian films, sometimes ahead of its homeland release. This year the festival features 16 films, diverse in themes and genres, however, all are united in rich traditions of Russian cinematography.
The opening night movie “Coach” is a thrilling sports drama and was made just before the World Cup in Russia. This movie is very enjoyable for both sports fans and soccer novices and has had huge popularity back home.
“The Last Warrior” is another big box office success. This light-hearted fantasy is based on Russian fairy-tales and is equally entertaining for the whole family.
“Sobibor” is another compelling movie worth your attention. It is a Holocaust story, telling the dramatic events of the only successful mass breakout from a Nazi concentration camp.
The festival also has a retrospective of old favourites. Classic movies from the 50s, 60s, and 70s are well worth seeing.
This year is also significant for “Lenfilm” studios, celebrating its 100 year anniversary. The festival is showcasing the definitive films in the history of this St Petersburg’s movie production studio (previously Leningrad). Digitally remastered “The Cranes are Flying” is an internationally acclaimed masterpiece of Russian cinema, having received a Palme d’Or at Cannes (1958) among its many awards. Another movie with a string of international awards, “Hamlet” (1964), is considered to be the best cinematic adaptation of Shakespeare, helped by the amazing translation by Boris Pasternak, and featuring the stars of Russian cinema.
The opening night had many memorable moments. Opening speeches were by Nicholas Maksymow, the Festival Director, and Irina Anufrievna, Treasurer of Russian Ethnic Representative Council. There was a glimpse into Russian culture with ‘Carousel’ singing group serenading the audience with traditional folk songs, and “Cocoschnik in Australia” with the enthusiast leader Tamara Barrass showcasing the national richly decorated festive costumes and traditional rituals of welcoming the guests. Mishka The Bear was also there to entertain the guests.
The after-party was sponsored by White Birch Vodka serving unlimited drinks. There was great entertainment with Russian and International music provided by band ‘KGB’ and singer Ana Staisy. Russian Folk Ensemble “Rusichi” presented traditional dance with great flair. By the end of the night the dance floor was rocking and everybody had a wonderful time.
RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL 2018 NEW THE LAST WARRIOR website review: Olga Tolkatcheva
The Last Warrior
This movie is a light-hearted fantasy feature, equally entertaining for both adults and kids. You don’t really need to know Russian fairy-tales and folklore characters – the scenario is pretty simple.
Modern day young man Ivan, who proclaimed himself a ‘wizard’ and cynically exploits the people’s beliefs in the unexplained and mysterious, is magically transported into the land of Belogorie, where the fairy tales and magic really exist. He is proclaimed to be the last warrior, bogatir, and the only hope of forces of good to overpower the forces of evil. Belogorie is in trouble: the beautiful sorceress Varvara wants to rule this land. She is powerful and cunning and turns to stone all magical creatures and anybody who could stop her.
Unlikely allies: evil Koschei The Undead and witch Baba Yaga, normally folkloric ‘bad guys’, join forces with Ivan in the quest to find The Magic Sword and defeat the sorceress.
Comedy is richly woven into the storyline – we get plenty of funny moments as technology-dependent Ivan has to navigate through the fantasy land of magic and to deal with the unusual inhabitants. Actor Viktor Khorinyak is perfect as goofy, but charismatic Ivan with the easy-going attitude.
The main character name was chosen for a reason: Ivan The Fool features in many traditional Slavic fairy-tales, called this mainly for his unwillingness to profit personally from the situations or to choose the easier path. He is a reluctant hero, winning more through luck, than calculated action.
The movie is shot beautifully on exotic locations with plenty of special CG effects, sword fights, and action.
'The Last warrior' was made with collaboration with The Walt Disney Company and in 2017 was a huge box office success in Russia.
RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL 2018 NEW NIGHT SHIFT website review: Olga Kirk
Producers: Emin Agalarov, Marius Weisberg Actors:Vladimir Yaglych Pavel Derevyanko Ksenia Teplova Natalia Bardo Sergey Glushko Igor Zhizhikin Valentina Mazunina Elena Valyushkina Emin Agalarov Natalia Bochkareva Anna Mikhailovskaya Igor Ugarov
Hunky Max, a hard worker, and an exemplary family man worked for a long time at the plant, but at one point he was unemployed because of the bankruptcy of the factory. In the end, in order to feed the family, Max, a very fit guy, on the advice of his former classmate, decides to go into stripping. He lies to his lovely wife and daughter that he has taken on night shift welding work that brings in considerably more than his old factory job. This leads to many ridiculous situations. Max's hopeless, sex-obsessed best friend Sergei, his new beautiful girlfriend and her perverted mother and we have a recipe for delightful debauchery. Filming took place in St. Petersburg. One of the great opportunities to see the views and atmosphere of a big Russian city. This is a raunchy, beautifully crafted comedy that is hilarious and really funny. In addition to a great acting from famous actors, we must pay tribute to the choice of the soundtracks. It seems simple and even stereotyped music, but nevertheless well chosen. For myself, I noticed that in the film, in fact, there is not a single real negative character, and this is not often seen in films. In conclusion if you like non deep meaningful stories, if you like to laugh, to enjoy a little bit for family happiness, then this film is for you. Thanks to the creators of this movie. Also happy that there is no vulgar humor. I will be glad to watch this film more than once.
RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL 2018 NEW I'M LOOSING WEIGHT website review: Olga Kirk
I’m losing weight
Film Director: Alexey Nuzhny Actors: Alexandra Bortich Irina Gorbacheva Sergey Shnurov Evgeniy Kulik Roman Kurtsyn Aleksandr Ptashenchuk Elena Valyushkina Valeria Dergileva
In the centre of the plot is a young girl Anya (Alexandra Bortich), who is very fond of food. And also in love with her boyfriend Zenya (Roman Kurtsyn), a handsome, bodybuilder and athlete. Zhenya doesn’t like the way Anna’s appearance begins to change because of her love for junk food. The recovered bride is not needed by such an athlete, and therefore the boy decides to leave the girl, who does not want to follow her appearance and diet at all. Anya just does not give up, she sets a clear goal for herself - to get rid of weight as soon as possible. In the company of her best friend (Irina Gorbacheva) and the boy who is also fat but obsessed with a healthy lifestyle, Kolya (Evgeniy Kulik) goes on a fun adventure to save her love.
The cast of the film will be primarily interested in the participation of musician Sergei Shnurov, as well as all fans of the actress Alexandra Bortich, who was not scared and heroically put on 20 kg for the film, then lost weight in a month and a half and returned to her original size. The film is very saturated with Russian reality (in a good way), special thanks goes to the director Alexei Nuzhny. This is not a comedy, this is rather a positive melodrama. A beautiful easy to watch film, vital, funny and sad, it can be safely saved in the playlist to watch at home, especially for the younger generation. It’s may also motivate some girls to get into shape. The soundtrack is perfectly matched with the film. Resentment - this is still the harmful thing that caused the inner alarm of Anna. It is necessary to love yourself, but also educate too. “Time to grow up”, “loose weight not for summer but for yourself”, “love yourself the way you are”- these are the main messages to take from the film.
RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL 2018 NEW SELFIE website review: Nadia Pleshkova
When we post our selfies on social media, are they really expressing the true nature of ourselves or are they of much better versions of us? And what if, one day, somebody else decides to become us and to steal our identity based on these images. The psychological thriller “Selfie” is about a famous TV host/writer Vladimir Bogdanov whose life has turned upside down with the intrusion of a doppelgänger. Is he about to lose everything? What choices and conclusions is the original Bogdanov going to make? What life values are going to dominate those decisions? A 140 minutes long movie has its culmination only towards the end. The film’s unexpected twist ending and a great cast of Konstantin Khabenskiy, Fydor Bondarchuk and Anna Michalkova are worth watching.
RUSSIAN RESURRECTION FILM FESTIVAL 2018 NEW PAGANS website review: Nadia Pleshkova
A term Paganism covers a great number of spiritual and religious beliefs. Thus the movie “PAGANS” portrays one Russian family, co-existing under the same roof, where every member lives and breathes their own faith, completely different from others. The movie explores the insides of the difficulties of everyday life and the tangled relationships between all the members of the family. Each character is presented as complex and fascinating one. This emotional drama presents the possibility of showing the compassion and sympathy towards each other, although these feelings surface mostly under the tragic circumstances. The film makes it even sadder because it came out as a tribute to its play writer and poet Anna Yablonskya, tragically killed in the bomb attack in Moscow’s Domodedovo airport in 2011, where Anna arrived to receive an award for her own play “Pagans”. This play is one of a dozen written by Anna and has been considered the best play of the Lyubimovka young play festival. Overall it is a warm-hearted movie.
BFF2018: WHERE HANDS TOUCH NEW website review by Alex First at MAPT published with the permission of the author
Where Hands Touch
Deeply distressing comes this story shedding light on how Germans treated half castes during WWII.
The Nazis contempt for Jews is well known and again in this film there are some shocking scenes revolving around their abuse.
Still, the central focus is on a bi-racial teen and her increasing victimisation.
It is 1944. In the Rhineland, Lenya (Amandla Stenberg – The Hunger Games), the teenage daughter of a white German mother and a black father, is coming of age.
Her mother (played by Abbie Cornish) – who also has a younger son who is white –has done her best to protect Lenya, but the racist credo of National Socialism has rendered her a pariah for the colour of her skin.
Yet she has caught the eye of Lutz (George MacKay), a member of the Hitler Youth, who dreams of serving his country proudly on the front line.
Lutz’s father (a role filled by Christopher Eccleston), a senior officer who fought in the previous World War, does what he can to protect his son, but certainly doesn’t countenance fraternising with somebody of her pedigree.
And his credo of seeing out the war by whatever means possible will have dire consequences.
Amandla Stenberg does a fine job channeling Lenya through a combination of intellect, vulnerability and resourcefulness.
Throughout the question being asked is whether Lenya’s fate is sealed or is there a way out?
After all her dark skin is what draws unwanted attention to her time and again.
Her forbidden relationship with Lutz is what drives the movie.
It is evident as events unfold that his initial idealism is soon doused by the horrors of what he sees and what is expected of him.
His relationship with his father is sorely tested throughout.
He, though, is not the only one trying to flex his muscles with his parent, for Lenya too defies her mother ... as teenagers do.
My concern is that Where Hands Touch lacked the naturalism of the best Holocaust movies, the likes of Schindler’s List, The Pianist and The Boy in Striped Pyjamas.
This appeared a lot more staged, which is a pity because as strong as its impact was, it could have been much stronger still.
Still, Where Hands Touch scores a 7 out of 10.
It is playing as part of the British Film Festival.
BFF2018: VITA AND VIRGINIA NEW website review by Alex First at MAPT published with the permission of the author
Vita and Virigina
Two supreme performances and sumptuous surrounds distinguish an artistic tale of the complicated relationship between authors Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West.
Australian Elizabeth Debicki is given the role of her life as the pained and brilliant Woolf, while Gemma Arterton shines as the gregarious but flighty Sackville-West.
The pair is uncompromising in their insistence to live, love and create to the fullest.
The year is 1922 and though happily married to a diplomat, Sackville-West is as notorious for her dalliances with women and subversive attitudes to gender as she is famous for her aristocratic pedigree and written success.
Woolf is a celebrated if not populist writer, publisher and a member of the Bloomsbury Group, already revolutionising literature.
This loose collective of friends and relatives – writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists – was closely associated with Cambridge University for the men and King's College London for the women, and they lived, worked or studied together near Bloomsbury in London.
Though reluctant at first to fall prey to Sackville-West’s lesbian advances, after the latter’s persistence Woolf falls under her spell, but Sackville-West has nothing if not a roving eye.
Let’s just say that the concerns of their husbands, families and mutual friends were understandable and Woolf and Sackville-West’s relationship was bound to be tumultuous.
But this tumult also fueled creativity, which Woolf eventually channeled into one of her greatest works, Orlando.
Vita and Virginia is based upon Sackville-West and Woolf’s personal correspondence and is co-scripted by Dame Eileen Atkins (Tea with the Dames) from her stage play.
Chanya Button’s (Burn Burn Burn) direction is slow and persistent as she builds a picture of the environment in which the pair forged a lifelong bond.
The joie de vivre that Arterton infuses into her role is a delight to witness, as is the nuance that Debicki brings to a more complex persona.
The film’s sensuality is one of its features, along with the period detail.
While its lack of pace will trouble some, it is a film that others will find illuminating.
Vita and Virginia scores a 7 out of 10.
It is playing as part of the British Film Festival.
MIFF: THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS NEW website review by Alex First at MAPT published with the permission of the author
Three Identical Strangers (PG) – 97 minutes – by Alex First
Human guinea pigs.
At age six months, three identical male siblings who have no idea they are brothers are adopted out to three different families by a now defunct Jewish adoption agency.
The reason they are separated has to do with a bizarre nature versus nurture scientific experiment, the results of which are never published.
That, in a nutshell, is what confronts you in Three Identical Strangers.
The trio – Edward Galland, David Kellman and Robert Shafran – was born to a single mother on 12th July, 1961.
It is only by a quirk of fate that one brother gets to know that he has one identical twin, let alone another.
That happens when, at age 19, he goes to college and he is warmly greeted by fellow students who think they know him.
I am loathe to say any more about that in order to preserve the integrity of the documentary.
The trio seems genuinely delighted to have found one another and become inseparable … partying hard and going on to set up a thriving business together.
Life appears rosy, only dig a little deeper and it is far from it.
Their adoptive parents are none too happy they have been misled by the adoption agency, which never revealed the children were separated.
Further, the secretive nature of the science project remained a mystery.
Only later in the documentary are the psychological effects of the separation revealed and they are deeply disturbing.
Put simply, the highly regarded and credentialed psychiatrist who led the study was literally playing with people’s lives, something he was never seemingly held to account for.
For all of their similarities, there are also differences between the three siblings. One is more gregarious, another more reserved and so on.
Their adoptive parents came from difference socio-economic backgrounds and had different styles of parenting.
The work is that of BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Tim Wardle, who has created a fascinating and frightening piece, which unfolds through a series of reveals.
Three Identical Strangers includes interviews with two of the siblings and their adoptive parents, relations and friends and an investigative journalist.
You are left with an understanding of the impact that the gross abuse of power had on those who were unfortunately caught up in the web.
And I am here to tell you the subterfuge continues to this day.
To find out how, you will need to see Three Identical Strangers.
Rated PG, it scores an 8 out of 10.
JEWISH INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2018: INTERPRETER NEW website review by Alex First at MAPT published with the permission of the author
BFF18: MY GENERATION NEW website review by Alex First at MAPT published with the permission of the author
Wonderful historic vision of swinging 60s, great music and some commentary from several household names, but not much insight I am afraid.
That is what happens when Michael Caine invites you to into the world of his youth, into the cultural revolution.
The winds of change were certainly blowing, but My Generation is more of a patchwork quilt than a cohesive, incisive documentary – a bit of a blancmange I am afraid.
I walked out not knowing anything I didn’t know before … and I found that disappointing.
It is based upon personal accounts and archival footage featuring the pop culture explosion.
While it preaches about the transformation of society at the time, I was left thinking “so what” and “what did it all mean or amount to?”
Sure, rebellion against elitism and highbrow society may have served a purpose, but if so what?
The vision was sourced from more than 1,600 hours of footage and more than 50 interviews, 17 of which appear in the finished product.
They include The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Mary Quant, Twiggy and David Hockney.
And, not surprising we see and hear plenty from Michael Caine, both as he was during the ‘60s and today.
David Batty directs the piece in three chapters.
I found it a stretch at 85 minutes.
It scores a 5½ to 6 out of 10.
BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY NEW website review by Alex First at MAPT published with the permission of the author
Bohemian Rhapsody (M) – 134 minutes – by Alex First
Apart from the exaggerated teeth, which I found off-putting, Bohemian Rhapsody is an absorbing biopic of a man, his music and a far from straight forward life.
That man is of course the ultimate showman in Freddie Mercury, supremely talented, unconventional and a show pony.
He fronted one of the most successful rock bands of all time in Queen and the film’s title is highly appropriate for what I regard as one of the finest pieces of music ever conceived.
Mercury passed away on 24th November, 1991 at the age of 45 from bronchial pneumonia resulting from AIDS.
Apart from Queen’s music, with which I am familiar, I didn’t know the story of Mercury or the band, so the movie was quite an insight for me.
It was fascinating, absorbing even and highly entertaining.
The picture starts and ends with Queen’s iconic Live Aid performance.
Live Aid was one of the most important cultural events of the time, bringing together the world’s biggest musical names in a benefit concert on two stages on 13th July, 1985.
The venues were Wembley Stadium in London and the John F Kennedy Stadium in Philadelphia.
Organised by Bob Geldof and Midge Ure to raise funds for those affected by the famine in Ethiopia, the concert was one of the largest satellite link-ups and TV broadcasts of all time.
It was watched by an audience of 1.9 billion in 150 countries.
You get the impression from the movie that in spite of Mercury’s strong self-belief, he was forever trying to prove himself.
His relationship with his fiancé Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton) was complicated by his growing awareness of his sexual leaning towards men … and yet, according to this representation, she remained one of the two loves of his life.
Rami Malek (Mr Robot), complete with disastrous buck teeth, impresses with his representation of the troubled singer.
Gwilym Lee (Jamestown) for all the world looks like the group’s actual lead guitarist Brian May.
Much of the story is a classic music industry rags to riches tale, with conflict between band members and those looking to exploit them, overindulgence and a price to pay. The grand scale concert footage is impossible to ignore and leaves a lasting impression.
As for the music, I never grow tired of it.
Directed by Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects) from a script by Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything) from a story by he and Peter Morgan (Frost/Nixon), Bohemian Rhapsody held my interest throughout and scores a 7½ out of 10.
We were lucky to greed main female character Fatemeh Motamed-Arya, Small framed women a very humbled women , spoke in Iranian who come to Australia especially for the movie opening. She received a standing ovation for her work.
She plays in this powerful drama a wife to a very famous writer who is battling a mental illness and is on the edge becoming a scezefrenic. No feelings left for him just old memories. Forced by the doctor to take him home she struggles to come to terms and accept this mentally ill man, whom she wants to divorce but unable to leave him behind. Who talks and visualises his old mates who have passed away long time ago.
At the end of the journey he is not proud of some of his novels and refuses to honour his idolises for the novels ceremonies. He just wants to life his life in peace, or just walk into the ocean and just be there, as that’s where he finds his peace.
Both of the characters counting their blessings and curse for having no children, so they would not have to deal with their family drama. Out of nowhere Taher who is her husband received a call from a daughter of their mutual old friend, with whom they had end the friendship due to love triangle been discovered. Over coffee Taher discovers that this young women is his daughter.
The audience is left guessing if this drama a reality or just a mad mans imagination or just his life events which he had lived through.
A very sad and tragic drama with some twits, and very good humour.
Wildlife Review by Roslynne Garwood-Webb Set in the 1960’s in Great Falls, Montana, this film tells the tale of Jeanette ( Carey Mulligan) and Jerry Brigginson ( Jake Gyllenhaal) and their teenage son Joe (Ed Oxenbould). In a film that is slow to start, Wildlife takes you on a slow paced journey where you witness the unravelling of a marriage and subsequent family through the eyes of 14 year old Joe. Joes father Jerry, loses his job at the local golf course and even though he is asked to go back a short time later, as a matter of pride Jerry refuses the offer and instead leaves the family home to go and fight fires. An act of love it seems to support and provide for his family. In his absence, suffering from the effects of isolation and loneliness, Jeanette unravels in full view of her teenage son, her self determination and self involvement, disrupting the values and expectations of a 1960’s nuclear family. Jeanette gets a job to support herself and Joe and suggests that Joe does the same. Joe finds a job as a photographers assistant, where he works after school, capturing the parts of peoples lives that they want to remember. Difficult to watch in some parts, as it will stir a part in all of us who have witnessed any struggles within family life, In his first film directing role, Paul Dano has succeeded I believe in delivering a film to highlight what he set out to encapsulate and that is that “even when the worst happens, we can still survive, we can still be family, we may never be the same but we still have love”. 2.5 out of 5 stars
review by Alex First at MAPT published with the permission of the author
Wildlife (M) – 105 minutes – by Alex First
Masterfully written, acted, directed, shot and edited, Wildlife is an independent film with real bite.
It is small town America – Montana – in the 1960s. Joe Brinson (Ed Oxenbould) is 14 years of age.
His parents – Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) – are about to face a major shift in their relationship, only they (and Joe) don’t know it.
You watch and wait for the threads to unravel and that they do, slowly but surely.
All is triggered by a single incident. Pride is dented, self-esteem shattered, marital harmony teeters and a quiet, observant teenager can only watch the carnage.
He would dearly love to collect the pieces and put them together again, but he can’t, so he does the best he can under the circumstances.
With a surfeit of close up cinematography, at times I felt I was reaching into the souls of the characters.
Mulligan wowed me nearly a decade ago in An Education. I thought so highly of it that I considered whatever she did thereafter as a bonus.
Here again is a bravura showing – this time as a woman unable to reconcile what is happening and making some questionable choices.
Gyllenhaal‘s role in largely internalised, although there are a few scenes when he rages. And those hollow eyes!
Oxenbould is wonderfully restrained, at times wide-eyed, but always considered as the youngster who sees all and possesses an intelligence beyond his years.
The rural setting and period detail is beautifully captured by cinematographer Diego Garcia.
The screenplay by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan – based upon a book of the same name by Richard Ford – and direction by the former shows maturity and great command of the subject.
Dano references his own life in being moved – “spooked, unsettled and excited” – when reading what Ford wrote.
He says there was an extraordinary amount of love in his home growing up, but also “incredible turbulence”. Dano says he was “caught off-guard” that Ford’s words “opened a window to that duality”.
For as long as Dano had wanted to make films, he had been keen to make them about family and so he wrote to Ford and secured the rights to his book.
His first movie in the director’s chair is beautifully nuanced.
Wildlife – a tripartite coming of age story – is a film sure to impress cinephiles and those looking for quality adult entertainment.
In Like Flynn In 1937 , Eroll Flynn wrote a book called Beams End. His book was an account of his coral sea adventures which he took with three friends. In his yacht called Sirroco, he sailed from Sydney to Papua Newguinea. Australian Action Director Russell Mulcahy has produced a rough screen translation of Flynn's Book in his recently released film “In like Flynn”. If you like a film packed with beer swilling, brawling and raucous behaviour, you may well like this one. With a talented cast and more than a handful of great Australian actors Mulcahy has produced a stellar film which will delight many. Thomas Cocqueral (Flynn), Callan Mulvey (Johnson), Costas Mandylor ( Vassilis) and Isabel Lucas (Rose) and David Wenham ( Christian Travers) to name but a few. For the die hard Eroll Flynn fans who know the real history of this colourful lad, you may find the depictions and references a little too fictional, if you are after a fast paced action film however, this one if just for you !
An Interview with God Paul ( Brenton Thwaites) has just returned home from Afghanistan where he was working as a journalist delivering the most successful articles of his career. His return sees him discover a failing marriage and turbulent times, questioning the faith that previously ensured he survived his darkest days. Somehow Paul finds himself scoring an interview with someone who claims they are God (David Strathairn). He has three half an hour interviews with God himself. As a result of these interviews Paul finds himself under the microscope and finds himself evaluating his faith and his future. This film provides enough intrigue to carry you through until the end, wondering what will become of Paul. What it leaves you with however, is many unanswered questions. Questions that Paul asked God, but God never really answered. The film undeniably evokes the questions we all have about religion, and places us in Pauls shoes in regard to what it would be we would ask God if we had the opportunity to sit across from him and ask him any questions we liked. This was an easy to watch enjoyable film, however I feel that the storyline could have benefited from a more detailed account of Pauls life in order to add some more complexity. 2.5 out of 5 stars
Donbass Russian/Ukrainian 7/10 Review by Susan Reynolds
This is an insight into the Russian/Ukrainian conflict and presents war in all its complexities. The movie has pauses which I think perhaps is designed to give time for the viewer to reflect, however a few times it leads to it being drawn out, some places I thought they’re had been a technical glitch in filming. The themes are the futility of war, the mistrust between people, manipulation of situations and the media, cheats, liars and the plight of the innocent. These aren’t topics for a joyous experience; this film is a graphic education about localised war.
When there is conflict nothing is as it should be could be or would ever seem to be. The common people, the poor have live under the violent clashes and bear the brunt of displacement. Citizens sought solidarity with each living under awful conditions hoping to sit out the conflict in make shift buildings. We see the women and children in the damp with poor sanitation and living on meagre food supplies. And they’re waiting for a time when they can have their lives back.
The absurdity of life is magnified but overall it leaves you with a heavy heart. 13 different scenarios are covered; aspects of life condensed and to be reflected upon. i knew little of the subject matter before the film but I do understand the foibles of man and futility of war and how it brings out the worst in people with cruelty and greed the most despicable of human evils.
We have the confronting scene of a man judged and trialed in the streets and beaten to death. He’d been tethered to a pole by authorities and made to wear a sign stating he’s part of the exterminators. Everyday people jeer at him question him and the anxieties of the people peak to despicable levels of violence.
Quickly we switch to being witness to a happy Occasion of a wedding then switch again to the gunfire bombing and killing of people traveling on a highway. Seek this film out of you wish to gain an understanding of the history of this conflict and some idea about the life in this region of the world. It’s is enlightening and essentially this is mankind at its worse and why we should avoid war. History however doesn’t always play out as ideally as anyone would like and the world sadly is not a utopia.
I USED TO BE MORAL NEW website/madman review by Susan Reynolds
In this thriller dark film starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton and Mia Goth to name a few the audience are taken on a journey through suspense and horror reminiscent of the film ‘Black Swan’. This film is not for the faint of heart but if Alfred Hitchcock suspense and thrills is what you enjoy watching then this should be your next film to watch. If you love anything related to dance, horror and witches then look no further. A woman attending a dance academy is engulfed by witchcraft and the supernatural. With all the fantastic dance sequences and choreography the film takes you on a journey like no other. The cast are a match made in suitable heaven, these ladies string the plot line together and their chemistry works well on screen. The best part about the film is that you truly feel every heart wrenching moment. I would warn of the gore and horror though but I do feel like the film has its moments and allows for you to go with the roller coaster of the narrative. Being a massive fan of psychological thriller films and not so much the gore and horror genre this film did surprise me in a positive way as the directorial contribution of the film was simply breathtaking and a marriage of the film as a whole. I would recommend this film to anyone who is familiar with Alfred Hitchcock and the SAW franchise. I think both of these as an example give you an insight into what the film will be like when you are watching it. I look forward to seeing what the cast and creatives of this film get up to next.
Honestly I was a bit disappointed . It was the exact case when you expect the fireworks and get only a small post card for your birthday, The plot was not "flowing" at all and the characters were not as exciting and boring to say the least. The plot was also predictable and the characters were mainly "black" and "white" The goodness did not attract and the evil did not revolt. It was fun but a bit plain for my taste. The animation even for the kids can be deep and amazing to watch. Honestly I do not know how the kids wold take it but as to my kids they were able to differentiate the high quality animes from the medium quality very quickly. From the other side we can say that the story is teaching young generation to something very important. It is not required to be loved by every one. It is fake and impossible. It is only possible with the charms of the evil witch. You just have to be loved by that only one you cherish and understand. The rest is just "passing by"... The adulthood is all about the solutions that make us true to our selves and make "man" and "woman". but not "boy" and "girl". The true love is always an opportunity to grow and develop as a true self. It makes us "us" and "real". It shows us our values and our most beautiful self, creative and sophisticated. As to the sound track it was mind blowing! Amazing voices and the song selection was absolutely stunning! I would give it 10/10 only for the beautiful music. I gave give 6 for the film and 10 for the music alone.The anime can easily be called a musical-anime if there was such a genre inside the anime. Neglecting the "plain story line the film was still very entertaining to watch. I am sure the small kids will love watching it.
review by Alex First at MAPT review is published with the author's permission
Charming (G) – 85 minutes – by Alex First
A cute, far from perfect, but sometimes amusing animated feature, the premise is a delightful twist on a handsome prince planting a kiss on a troubled damsel in distress.
As an infant, Prince Philippe Charming (the voice of Wilmer Valderrama) was maliciously “over-blessed” with “charm” – as a result of a curse – and so through no fault of his own women are drawn to him like a magnet.
Every woman he meets falls head over heels in love with him and to this point the world’s most famous prince has coasted through life as a result.
By now he has racked up three very high-profile fiancés – none of whom he loves –and hundreds of spurned lovers out for his blood.
The only way for the prince to break the curse is to find true love before his 21st birthday, which is but days away … and there are no signs of that.
So, his father, the King (vocalised by Jim Cummings), sends him on a journey of self discovery and manhood, which he himself undertook and his father before him.
Guiding him is a roguish stranger named Lenny (actually a female thief dressed as a male, named Lenore Quinonez). She is voiced by Demi Lovato.
Being born at sea, Lenore is also no “maiden of the land” and therefore the only woman in the world immune to Charming’s magical allure.
Written and directed by Ross Venokur, the idea for the movie came about from reading bedtime stories to his three daughters over the past 14 years.
Those were the stories often involving big name princesses, so it was only a matter of time before they came to the collective realisation that one after another were married to Prince Charming.
So, the questions became how does this guy keep pulling this off and who was his real match in fairytale land?
I really appreciated the storyline that underpinned the movie.
So too painting Snow White (voiced by Avril Lavigne), Cinderella (the voice of Ashley Tisdale) and Sleeping Beauty (vocalised by G.E.M.) as shallow, vacuous and in love with themselves.
Some of the dialogue, the one liners and scenes worked better than others.
Attracting an audience with catchy pop songs is one thing, but honestly this was a tale that could readily have been told without music.
And when you have cartoon characters opening their mouths to warble I thought I was watching amateur hour.
The lip syncing simply didn’t work ... at all.
Nor did freezing the frame when the Prince was thinking or reflecting.
On the plus side, John Cleese voicing the executioner was comic genius.
So, to sum up Charming is uneven, a film with flashes of brilliance and just as many faux pars.
I would never say it was a cake with the cherry on the top of t. It is not funny but at least it is about war... and saving the president of Russia. This kind of movie was supposed to be sophisticated high budget blockbuster from Hollywood about Russian realities..... Ha! Or should I say Ha Ha Ha! No the film is not what you would expect it t be. It is yes, about Russia, it is sooooooo about Russia you can not get anything more about Russia than this Russian film! It is Russian it smells with unnatura (sorry artificial) love and sado. I would tell this to you if I was a psychologist of he film director. Thank god I am not.
Have you ever met friends or so called 'friends' who suffer some complexes of low self esteem? Such people try to project all their bad character features on you lowing you down and making you the same level with such "friend" so they feel "equal" or "even" with you. On the other side such friends also try to copy your best character features. You always see them stealing your best ideas, your "people", your word expressions and even your "style" of life.. Such "monkeys" s behavior is not justified, t is strange , it only shows sick, limited and not-logical mind. This people never live the life of their own but parasite on you.
Do Americans still fear Russians/ D they still think that Russians are people who are different from them? They are all evil and have bad intentions no matter what they do. Did the film remind me of something? Have we already seen Americans saving Russian president? There are super heroes living in one country and stupid idiot living in the other country just across the ocean. At least it is a great pleasure to see Russian president is pictured as a dark all and handsome macho man.
Some of the so called "twists" of the story line are unbelievable in the worst sense of this word. There are lots of very rude errors that also create a doubt in high budget of the film and in the detailed research the producer has done showing us those "doubtful" details.
Th film that was supposed to be huge turned into a really sarcastic exhibition of something that as not there! Sad but considering the good acting and more or less global theme my rate is defined above.
review by Alex First at MAPT review is published with the author's permission
Hunter Killer (MA) – 121 minutes – by Alex First
Ra ra, America the great. Heroes saving the world from destruction.
Hunter Killer is the name given to a naval vessel, especially a submarine, equipped to locate and destroy enemy vessels, especially other submarines.
Deep beneath the icy surface of the Arctic Circle, the Cold War never really ended.
Here, at extreme depths invisible to the rest of the world, U.S. and Russian submarines continue to play ultra-high-stakes rounds of hide-and- seek.
They do so through harrowingly narrow passages, as a constant reminder to one another of the unthinkable costs of sudden aggression.
The danger has only mounted amid heightened tensions as a new generation of highly sophisticated nuclear attack subs prowl the murky depths, persistently trailing and shadowing one another as if a full-blown battle is about to break out.
But what if these charged war games suddenly stopped being a game at all?
What if, as chaos erupts on land, there is only one shot to pull the world back from the brink of WWIII and unthinkable nuclear conflict?
This is the relentlessly tense situation presented in Hunter Killer.
It all begins as a Russian sub sinks in the Arctic Ocean. Soon after, the U.S. sub ghosting it also mysteriously vanishes.
In the midst of investigating these unsettling events, military brass in Washington D.C. are sent scrambling when they discover a rogue Russian admiral is attempting to carry out a bloodthirsty coup at a naval base in Russia.
The only hope to halt a war of the superpowers lies in the efforts of two secret crews.
The first is a clandestine Black Ops team of ex-SEALs who must try to sneak into Russian territory to intercept the kidnapping of the Russian President.
Simultaneously, in the sea, Captain Joe Glass and the young crew of the USS Arkansas are under orders to head towards the enemy.
As a hunter-killer captain, Glass has mastered the rules of the cat-and-mouse game but will now have to break them as he comes to realise that this time the cat and the mouse may have to join forces.
The script by Arne Schmidt (Chain Reaction) and Jamie Moss (Ghost in the Shell) is based upon the novel Firing Point, written by George Wallace and Don Keith.
Direction is from Donovan Marsh (iNumber Number).
How many times have we seen it before – big budgets, explosions, political tensions ramped up to breaking point?
At least this time we have something a little different in the form of cooperation behind the scenes between the Yanks and the Ruskies.
You see, neither side wants to see a madman – in this case the instigator of a successful coup against the Russian President, namely Russia’s military leader – assume control.
The whole thing is heavily and visibly manipulated to ensure everything fits neatly together.
And yet in spite of this there are several sequences where the tension is palpable. That is commendable.
Mind you, all the characters are single dimensional. They serve a purpose and don’t deviate from it. No subtlety. No nuance.
Gerard Butler is the live by the bootstraps commander, Common is the stoic war hero, now rear admiral, while Linda Cardellini is the National Security Agency senior analyst who forms a bond with the the rear admiral.
And you have the off the grid grunt too by real men’s men.
That is not to overlook Gary Oldman, whose talents are hardly used to great effect as the admiral feeling the heat.
One thing I can also say is that the underwater cinematography and that inside the submarines is crystal clear, as if it was shot in a bathtub. The cinematographer is Tom Marais.
I mention that because so often with films shot in such an environment the total opposite is the case. You can barely make out what is happening.
So if patriotism and big budget look and feel movies are your thing, go for it.
40 years ago, in 1978 John Carpenter and Debra Hill made history. Using a shoestring budget and cutting every corner possible, they were able to MacGyver a film that not only worked but worked so well that it is still used as a gold standard for budding film students. Now, 40 years, 9 sequels, and an absurd amount of wasted time and studio money later, fans finally got the sequel they deserve. Not a continuation of one of the many timelines currently in existence and not another partial retcon, definitely not a reboot. A genuine direct sequel to the original, removing all other films in the series from the cannon and throwing them in the trash where most truly belong, some more than others (looking at you Halloween Resurrection).
Based in real time the story is set 40 years after the original and makes no attempt to disguise or gloss over the fact. Jamie Lee Curtis reprises her seminal role and her character Laurie Strode has not aged gracefully. Taking a more realistic and ironically darker tone than most slasher films, Halloween shows the potential side effects of ultra-violence on a typical teenager and how it could very well define their life going forward. Realism is something that this film seems to take very seriously and as such, it stands as a proof of concept that a slasher flick needn’t rely on classic tropes and unrealistic character interactions. Gone are the maidens falling over because the plot demanded it. In their place are three generations of realistically damaged but hardened women with a singular goal. While Michael himself rides the fine line between incredibly sturdy psychopath and supernatural immortal, he never overtly crosses it, while every other character remains firmly planted in the realm of plausibility, for better or worse.
Even the violence that defines slashers such as Halloween has been retrofitted to fit the theme of real-world horror. Following the lead of its iconic predecessor, Halloween doesn’t rely on a slew of deaths to build its antagonists up. The writers don’t rely on overly dramatic gore-porn tactics to shock their viewers. A handful of deaths, most of which happen offscreen is al it takes to build up the fear of the unknown and the phycological horror that the series truly thrives on. Not that that movie doesn’t showcase blood, make no mistake, this is not a film for children and the violence depicted is as horrifyingly visceral as it is hyper-realistic. The difference is that the blood feels earned, instead of nameless extras screaming into the camera, each death feel like a real genuine life being snuffed out in front of you. Halloween isn’t a fake blood montage as many of its predecessors and contemporaries have shown themselves to be. It’s the story of a serial killer and an arguably unstable woman’s desire for vengeance. A simple premise, but one that works remarkably well within the genre and one that I hope inspires future directors.
Halloween is not without its faults of course. At times the action can be slightly too choppy to follow clearly. The subplots take some turns that while clearly designed to shock audiences just seem to come out of nowhere and feel misplaced. The acting, while primarily excellent, does have its cringy moments. While I do believe that the film kept itself from focusing too much on homages and references, it straddles the line between homage and fan service like a show pony at the state fair. Overall though, Halloween is an excellent addition to the slasher genre and one of the best phycological horror flicks to come out of Hollywood in years. While it is unlikely to ever become as iconic as the original, it deserves its place in the horror hall of Allstars and will likely soon become a crowd favourite during Halloween parties to come.
The Old Man and the Gun Comedy, crime story (based on real life) 8.0 Review by Susan Reynolds
Set in the 80’s in the USA Robert Redford plays loveable scoundrel Forrest Tucker who is an habitual criminal. He escapes juvenile correction centres in his youth, robs banks before long and escapes authorities throughout his life. All of his victims seem taken aback by his congeniality.
Based on a true story Forrest is never known to actually shoot anyone just bluffs his way to having the tellers fill the money bags by showing his gun under is jacket. He does this in a way that achieves his goals with little drama. Forrest had people involved constantly praising his kindness to investigating police.
Robert Redford has so much charisma if he could bottle it he’d make a fortune well into another lifetime. Redford now 82 has maintained every ounce of his charm; he’s not spent a drop. in fact he’s probably even gained some. He and love interest in the film Jewel played by Sissy Spacek are magic together on screen their acting flawless. Forrest meets Jewel on the road when her car breaks down, the onscreen rapport Is immediate. They strike up a friendship and he visits her farm.
Forrest doesn’t act alone in his escapades and his Fellow “Over the hill gang members” (as they were coined) Danny Glover and Tom Waits were perfect partners in crime and who assisted in the numerous bank holdups. John Hunt (Casey Affleck) is the cop assigned to bring Forrest in. He took the assignment with some enthusiasm at first but soon he was reluctant, largely due he himself falling under the spell of Forrest’s charm.
We learn things about Forrest and his past. His choices prompted you to think about what you choose to focus on in life. Forrest was always smiling when he was robbing a bank that seemed to make him happy. Some people are who they are ...free spirited and not ever going to lead a conventional life. With Jewel by his side the option was there for Forrest to retire put his slippers on and chill out But what is his choice of action?
We all know Michael Moore. He is famous, he is provocative, he is full of good humor. His first films were blockbusters , his satirical to politics reveals the veils behind the actions of some very powerful people of this world. His first films we watched with an open month. Then we suddenly realised that apart from not 100% proved information Michael only states problems. There are no solutions in his films. They might be funny and juicy to watch like many gossips in the news but they do not make us different. They frustrate more than they heal. This knowledge is pointless IMHO. It is interesting but I have no use for it, honestly. Michael's famous film Fahrenheit 9/100 was so popular we all watched it many times in the row. We even bought the DVDs with his films. Michael's original idea of the film title though changes in this film and he swaps the numbers from 9/11 in the title to 11/9. We all remember that Michael was blaming George Buch Junior in all sins for the events of the year 2002 in USA. The new film focuses on the mistake Donald Trump is doing destroying American's future. In is new film Michael covers the shooting in the Parkland school and the water crisis in the city of Flint, Michigan State. The latter issue arises form the local government and authorities' idea to use the waters of the local river to save money . As a result because it the waters pollution more than 100,000 people got health issues. The film get released just before some important mid-term elections in USA. Trump seems very unlucky. They first remove the star from the Hollywood Star Alley. Than suddenly Bob Gail admits that he copied one of his characters from the image of Trump at that time. Would Michael tell us about the achievements of the new president? No Would Michael tell us about drug addicts, idiots and other clowns in America? Ad why Trump is so important? No Suddenly we see that Obama was doing everything so right for America? Interesting that this film saw the world at all... No president in any country of the world would ever allow something like this to happen.. but Trump did... Is it a surprise? Anyway: watch the film and make your own mind please!
review by Alex First at MAPT review is published with the author's permission
Fahrenheit 11/9 (M) – 128 minutes – by Alex First Writer and director Michael Moore (Bowling for Columbine) is back as he turns his attention to examining Donald Trump’s election win on November 9, 2016. Moore travels across America to get a sense of the social, economic and political impact of the Trump Presidency amidst the chaos of the new Administration’s provocative tweets, staff firings and outright lies. Fahrenheit 11/9 is a provocative look at the times in which we live, exploring the two most important questions of the Trump era: How did we get here, and how do we get out? If you are considered and erudite you can justify just about anything.
You can mount a reasonable and compelling argument, back it up with file vision and influence thought.
That is what Michael Moore does in this, his latest bloated offering.
In short, it takes a look at the state of the US today and bemoans the fact that it is what it is.
It also rationalises why Trump won the last election and the lies perpetrated by the Hilary Clinton camp before going on to paint Trump as a megalomaniac.
Drawing analogies to Hitler though was, put simply, downright offensive.
The documentary is far, far too long, jumps from topic to topic, and clearly pushed Moore’s agenda of accountability.
While there are some fine upstanding voices in this one, namely the schoolchildren, I learned nothing I didn’t already know.
My life would have been complete without seeing Fahrenheit 11/9.
Rated M, it scores a 6 out of 10.
JOURNEY'S END THE FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO Icon Films RATE: 7/10
Any war no matter what the purpose is is hell. If you are a war drama lover you can not miss this film. Filmed by British it is also shows the inner soul of cinematography. You will ask "why war is there?" question every second of the movie. There are no women in it. The peaceful scene is shown closer to the end of the movie. The colors are grey brown, dark, dusty and smokey. There is no end of the journey as there is no end of suffering of the people who are involved in these war operations, preparations, battles, attack, small victories celebrations, fears etc etc. There are no colors apart from darkness. The white and yellow appear as I said later for 1-2 min of the film when the sister reads the letter from her brother about his first day at war , the brother is already dead at this time of the film. The story line s truthful, innocent and horrifying at the same time which makes it even more horrific. We see pain, loss, soldiers dirt, mud, smoke, alcohol, soul suffering, Kaiserschlacht battle 1918 was the most terrible out of all the humanity have seen. The young officer arrived with one purpose only: to resume his friendship with his old friend only to find him deeply depressed, indiffernt, changed, lacking the aim to live, and "healing his pain with alcohol. This newly arrived soldier will experience it all: pain, fear, growing into an adult in 2 minutes through the battle and death. But he asked for it! The actors are performing finely and naturally. IMHO the film lacks the confidence from the director's side. Having so much material the film would be much better with more certainty and attention. The music was a great addition to the mood of the film. I am not a fan of the war films and I trust this film will be valued higher by the lovers of such genre but it was not really my cup of tea apart fro the excellent actors' performances.
review by Alex First at MAPT published with the permission of the author
Journey’s End – 107 minutes – by Alex First
The true horrors of war, of sending men to their death and the ravages of PTSD are front and centre in this somber WWI pic.
Angst, heartbreak and dignity all have a part to play.
In the end though the futility of it all is inescapable.
It is March 1918.
Led by the war-weary Captain Stanhope (Sam Claflin), C-company arrives to take its turn in the front-line trenches in northern France.
A German offensive is imminent and the officers (played by Paul Bettany, Stephen Graham Tom Sturridge) and their cook (Toby Jones) distract themselves in their dugout with talk of food and their past lives.
Stanhope, meanwhile, soaks his fear in whisky, unable to deal with his dread of the inevitable.
A young new officer, Raleigh (Asa Butterfield) is abuzz with the excitement of his first posting.
One of the reasons for that is that he is about to serve under Stanhope, his former school house monitor and the object of his sister’s affections.
Only now Stanhope is a deeply troubled and changed man.
Each man is trapped, the days ticking by, the tension rising and an attack draws ever closer.
Getting R.C. Sherriff’s celebrated 1928 play Journey’s End to the screen was a journey in itself.
The theatrical piece was previously adapted in 1930 – the feature debut of James Whale – and remade in Germany the following year as Die Andere Seite (The Other Side).
As the play and film were so successful, Sherriff was persuaded to write a novel from the play and then this film’s writer Simon Reade set about adapting that work.
He was always mindful of striking the right balance between scenes set in the officers’ dugout and those taking place with the men in the trenches.
On one harrowing occasion, the action also spills over the top into No Man’s Land.
One of Reade’s greatest challenges was tweaking the language to more modern parlance.
What the film does so well is that it allows us to get inside the psyche of several of the key players.
And make no mistake, it turns the screws – there is no easy way out here.
The burden is an almighty one.
Claflin’s Captain Stanhope is by now but a shell of a man, who signed up three years earlier. Bettany plays Osborne, who is Stanhope’s closest friend and confidante – stoic and dignified. But it is Raleigh who provides our eyes and ears in this claustrophobic, dread-drenched world, for he arrives fresh out of training, assigned to C-Company because he has pulled strings with his uncle, General Raleigh (Rupert Wickham). Directed by Saul Dibb, I walked out of Journey’s End quite traumatised. What went down continued to play on my mind. It scores an 8 out of 10.
STORM BOY website review by Roslynne Garwood-Webb
StormBoy (2019) Review by Roslynne Garwood-Webb Geoffrey Rush ( Adult Michael) , Jai Courtney(Tom) and Finn Little (Michael/StormBoy), star in director Shawn Seets contemporary remake of Colin Theiles classic 1976 Australian story book , StormBoy. True to the original storyline, Director Shawn Seets, tells the tale of Michael growing up in a remote and isolated area in South Australia’s Coorong National Park with his reclusive father Tom. In a desperate effort to find friendship, Michael comes across Bill, an aboriginal man who is estranged from his tribe. Bill and Michael come across three baby pelicans who have been orphaned by their mother. With the help of Bill, Michael hand rears the pelicans and forms a close bond with Mr Percival, who much like a human friend, becomes Michaels confidant and best friend, Michael confides in the pelican and they enjoy endless hours on the beach playing ball games together. As the Pelicans mature, Michael's father explains to his that it is time to let the Pelicans go free and to live in their own natural habitat. Torn between knowing what is best for his 3 pelican friends and by losing three of his closest friends, Michael shares his sadness but nonetheless starts teaching the Pelicans to feed themselves and to fly. This beautiful adaptation is a wonderful story of friendship and the story is very much a metaphor for Michael growing up and transitioning from childhood to the grown up world of greys and complications. A beautiful line given by Fingerbone Bill ( Trevor Jameison) towards the end of the film “Bird like him never die” is a testament to the lessons that Thiele was trying to teach us all in his original text. It was a magical and nostaligic experience to be sat in front of the big screen with my 11 year old son, 28 years after the original movie, living the adventures of Michael and his three orphaned , hand raised pelicans , Mr Percival, Mr Proud and Mr Ponder and of course Michaels good friend, Fingerbone Bill. My Son was delighted by the film and felt all of the emotions with which it came and of course left the cinema wanting to own a pet pelican.
3.5 stars out of 5
FRENCH CLASSIC FILM FESTIVAL OPENING EVENT: EVA BEST MOVIE OF THE MONTH website RATE: 10/10 review by Natasha Lukin EVA, the essence of a woman
The retrospect viewing of 1962 French melodrana ‘Eva’ at the Astor theatre in Melbourne transported us to the Venice Film Festival of that era. Not everybody would probably agree with me, but the plot, characters and famous actors playing those characters, are secondary for me comparing to enchanting, mesmerising and nearly surrealistic photography of that B&W artistic phenomena. Actually nothing was really black and white there but endless shades of grey. Famous Venice canals, rows of gondolas, an Autumn vineyard with fallen leaves on the ground, people with umbrella and in raincoats: we watched them through the light rain mesh. The stunning photography affected me emotionally more than the storyline although it developed dramatically and also kept you captivated. A newcomer to Venice, a Welsh novelist Tyvian in Venice finds himself among the artistic and glamorous people feeling a bit out of his place. However, he is an author experiencing his very first novel's big success, "L'Étranger en Enter". He is already engaged to the beautiful Italian girl Francesca looking forward to their wedding. At that stage, he meets Eva who mysteriously occupied his place. She feels at home wherever she goes bringing her record player with her in order to listen her favourite Billy Holiday’s song. No other woman had such an effect on Tyvian, as Eva's profoundly feminine looks and erotic demeanour. He was tempted and seduced, and then humiliated by her beyond reason. There were many dramatic moments of their meetings and splits when Tyvian suffered being confused and torn between logic and fatal attraction to money-loving Eva. At the final meeting of Eva and Tyvian, the record player plays the same song by Billy Holiday. The film ends with church bells ringing out over Piazza San Marco but no one is there. Venice looks empty, no gondolas moving through its canals. Tyvian left alone, Eva, the mysterious dangerous love of his life disappeared. Eva, the character beyond his reach, was played by Jeanne Moreau. She was one of the brightest French movie star, famous for her many brilliant performances and awarded by many prizes and titles. The role of Tylian was played by Stanley Baker. The production team included the film’s director Joseph Losey, Writers James Hadley Chase (the novel’s author), Hugo Butler (adaptation) and music by Michel Legrand. And of course I just want to repeat that I was so impressed by cinematography by Gianni Di Venanzo.
Boy Erased Review: Anthony Wayne Running Time: 1h 54m Director: Joel Edgerton 2/5 stars
After having seen the promotional trailers for Joel’s Edgerton’s new film Boy Erased, I jumped at the opportunity to attend an early preview screening. From the trailer - it seemed all the elements for a powerful and moving film were there – from a heavy story line focusing on gay conversion therapy, a strong Australian cast, and a heart-rending soundtrack featuring Troye Sivan. These individual elements alone were disappointingly not enough to bring this story to life, with the emotional highs and lows you would expect from the subject matter. Written and directed by Joel Edgerton and based on Garrard Conley’s memoir. Russel Crowe and Nicole Kidman play conservative Baptist couple Marshall and Nancy, whose faith is challenged when they discover their teenaged son Jared (Lucas Hedges) may be gay. Marshall seeks the advice from two church leaders and at the risk of damaging their family’s name within their small religious community, insists that change has to happen. Jared is made to attend a gay conversion therapy program to avoid being permanently exiled and shunned by his family, friends and faith. Jared travels with his mother Nancy who stays with him at a local hotel as he undergoes daily sessions facilitated by lead counsellor Victor (Joel Edgerton himself). The program aims to retrain participants by increasing masculinity and reminding them that their homosexual urges are learned rather than something they are born with. Activities include charting out the sinners on one's family tree and sorting the boys on a descending scale of manliness. As Jared progresses through the program, the narrative takes us back to see the moments that have led him there. The isolating journey of Jared becoming aware of his sexuality and the deeply traumatic experience of being forced to deny it, was not successfully conveyed on the screen. Too much of the film is spent going through the motions and leaving us wanting to connect with Jared in ways the film was unable to provide. There are some individual scenes that give us glimpses of a film with heart – a tender moment between Jared and college boy Xavier (Théodore Pellerin) and a moment of angst where Jared unleashes his frustration on a billboard with a petite male model. However these moments often came across as underwhelming without making any strong impact, due to the soft and sensitive direction from Edgerton. There are strong performances from Kidman as a mother struggling with her own belief system, and Hedges depiction as a vulnerable closeted teenager. It felt though they could only do so much with the script given to them, and their frustratingly underdeveloped characters. Boy Erased is released in cinemas Australia wide on Thursday 8th November 2018.
GHOST STORIES THE FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO Icon Films review by Susan Reynolds Ghost Stories 2017 Drama/thriller
Review by Susan Reynolds 7.5/10
Professor Phillip Goodman follows three stories intending to expose the supernatural content of them as fraudulent. Ghost stories is a three part movie experience with different scenarios involving unexplained phenomenon. The Professor gets a lot more than he’s bargained for along the way. He finds his own life and his past embroiled into the weave of the story.
In the realm of spine chiller rather than horror, the movie entertains with a great acting cast, superior standard of filming and poses interesting questions until it tries to sandwich the themes together with a vice like grip of neatness in exerting to tie up lose ends.
Are we mad if we believe in anything beyond the scientifically proven. Is the Professor mad or is everyone else’s mad or do their imaginations fool them. For what it’s worth I believe many people have something that happens in our lives that can’t be explained simply.
The movie contains questions of sanity, the supernatural, imagination, belief and disbelief all which can vie for space in our conscious and unconscious thought.
Andy Nyman Professor: Phillip Goodman Martin Freeman: Mike Priddle Alex Lawther: Simon Rifkind
RATE: 7/10 review by Natasha Marchev
Horror is not really my cup of tea. I got to this screening by accident mixing up the dates though. Half way through the film I realised that this is not that I am watching but the film was so good I could not walk out of the cinemas. "Ghost Stories" title might get the horror film lovers yawning and getting bored immediately but let's not get fooled by the humble title. This film deserves to be talked about and discussed. I will tell you more. If I have a rare chance to watch movies at the cinemas finding the window in my busy schedule I would not have time to re-tell the story to my husband That film was not the case. I could not stop talking with him about the film. When I finished he said: "It is horror but it is so intriguing, I could not eve n interrupt you" - he was frozen listening to me. What attracts in this film? Many aspects of it I have to admit. Firstly it is a very smart and clever blend of the horror films of 70--s and 80-s in is style, secondly it has the modern fresh fresh touch in its same "styling". As a result: a very much so interesting picture with the masterfully shaped suspense that all of us wait drooling in the horror movies. There are also some pleasant sentiments that many modern and quite dry horror films lack. We dip into the surroundings believable and mystical, natural and mysterious at the same time. It attracts as if the story was taking place next door from your house. The sound track is amazing: it turns from lyrical , home-like cozy, chamber, charming and warm into sharp with a hue of curiosity , sliding with stressful turns and tickling our nerves - in the best traditions of the past. The directors play the three deck cards with the touch of the great masters : they give us the key that the main and quite skeptical in all paranormal events character, professor Phillip Goodman pronounces out loud : "The mind sees what it wants to see" Professor spends all his life trying to prove that there is no paranormal in this life and the metaphysical is all the bad and unproved stories created by crooks and liars. One day Goodman receives a letter from the journalist, his idol and his older colleague who vanished many years ago. In his letter professor's friend is asking to visit him as he is sick and can not finish three very strange cases that bothered him all his life. He, the master of revelation of many crooks and liars who work with the fine energies could not explain them They puzzled him for years. But Goodman is the man on the top of everything. He believes that these three cases are just a piece of cake. He set up three appointments and meets three absolutely different people. The "threesome" are presented to us as an open and well written book of adventures collage-ed under that same and modest title we discussed above: Ghost Stories. Story One. The dark security man tells his life story and his hardships as well as he retells the story of what happened to him one night while he was guarding the old and full of garbage ware house that was a loony bin long time ago. Story Two. The pale and scared of every sound your lad with deep and sparkly eyes how hides under 20 different door locks inside the guts of his dark house tells his story about his adventures in the night forest. The walls of his room are covered by the pictures of the creatures . The young man is sure that he accidentally killed one of such creatures in the forest while he was driving his car back home from the party. His investigations are continuing almost destroying his brain. Story Three It is the most interesting and the most weird story our of all. The story is an organic culmination of the whole film. The ex-broker is cynical and mercantile to the core of his brain, He is the man operating with figures, math analysis and visible things: mainly money. It did not prevent though to start believing that the dark forces touched his family. The poltergeist was a usual act taking place in his very wealth estate.. But this means nothing to what he experienced when his wife gave a birth to a creature that would not have name in hell. The pictures and episodes of the film changed each other one after the other while I sat there clued to the cinema chair They were serious (natural) and absurd (mystical) and I caught myself in the middle of the thought: are they telling us the truth or is it a made up story? The answer to this question is still the same: "It is all in your mind" "your mind sees that it wants to see" do you think it is a a real story or a science fiction? It is the film where the truth and illusion got combined into one unrevealable knot that we are unable to get undone. Should I talk separately about the actors and their acting No, I will not. One word: STUNNING performance by ALL!!!! Speechless, stunning performance! But I will mention! Paul Whitehouse played brilliantly the man who turns everything into dust - everything he touches... probably with his own unpleasant darkness and unhappiness. We stop breathing and die when we see him. His experience is well deserved. Alex Lawther in his amazing performance is tender and young,, innocent, fearful and highly emotional, living with the constant almost religious guilt and still remembering the events of that terrible night of murdering. We get worried about his mental health. His acting is breathtaking! Martin Freeman is always playing "the guy next door" as he remember him by his amplua. We see him from a different side this time. His image now triggers different emotions. We find ourselves highly intellectually manipulated by the film story line. The directors do not go into some deep mystical and unbelievable acts , the events are all so natural and so trustworthy despite our "ghost party" expectations. The frames are kept on the mild side but it does not diminish the horror that we relive as the audience. s I mentioned already above the style of the horror film is very modest and almost "virgin". We trust into the stories because they are shown so emphasisingly honestly! It blends so well with the story of of the professor's childhood shown with a lot of talent by the directors. The story of childhood is connected to the main hero's thoughts about the essence of life and its purpose, about the punishment for the bad deeds taken place and about death itself. The film though ends in the most absurd way which can be I believe shown as a case of study for some psychiatric hospital doctors. There are keys in the locks, skeletons in the wardrobes, the magic of the numbers and so much of the other "symbols" that we people give way too much credit in our own lives. Back to the ending: it looks like the directors keep laughing together with the main hero on the "paranormal" while the main hero is dying in the hospital bed,.. I guess no one will understand it. I did not! Does the film worth watching? No, I would not go and watch it twice but I watched it by accident... was it a mystery n its own? Who knows...
“Beautiful Boy” Drama Based on the best-selling pair of memoirs from father and son David and Nic Sheff. 8/10 Director: Felix Van Groeningen Steve Carell : David Sheff Timothee Chalamet: Nic Sheff Maura Tierney: Karen Barbour Amy Ryan: Vicki Sheff
Review: Susan Reynolds
Devastating story of a young man’s addiction and how his father grappled with his son’s tragic descent in the world of hard drugs. Nic was the eldest son in the family along with his stepmother, little stepbrother and sister who all lived together. Nic’s biological mother had been divorced from his dad and lived in another state and was also was part of the story. The film focused mainly on father David and son Nic.
In the beginning David is filled with hope and resolve to help his son when it emerged he had a drug problem. David was proactive focused and persuasive with Nic and sent him for treatment. Nic had experimented with weed and even reminded his father that he once smoked weed. Nic was excited about sharing the experience of smoking with his dad early in the film. But Nic subsequently ventured past smoking a few leisurely joints.
Nic habits had moved onto cocaine, pills then eventually crystal meth. David had to educate himself about it all even desperately resorting to snorting up to find out what is driving his son into this deadly maelstrom. David’s confidence and sanity was being stripped away by the continuing devastation of his son’s failure to quit drugs. David’s heart is eventually hardened until he can give no more.
Poignant scenes are where Nic meets his father in the diner. Nic is desperate for money for a fix. There’s not even a glimpse of the warm hearted Nic who is a shell of his former self under the dark cloud of addiction the narcotics pulling his strings. There’s the tension between father and son as David had become fully aware that it’s beg borrow or steal for drug money. Nic had no self-respect left as he tried to con his father to get what he needs.
In the memoirs by Nic and David Nic resorted to prostitution to feed his addiction. It did cross my mind in the film how was he able to afford the constant supply of drugs; this factor the film didn’t really fully address. Had the film touched upon this it could have been all the more powerful. The brilliant acting has to be noted as the shining beacon that allowed for any shortcomings in the screen writing.
The musical choices cleverly added to the moods in the film. I really liked the various tracks particularly “Beautiful Boy” by John Lennon evoking that deep love between father and son.
Whilst the movie flowed well to and fro from the present to the past with flashbacks to Nic as a young child it was I think slightly unnecessarily longer than it needed to be. Stopping to give a moment to scenes that showed great emotion was meaningful; but overall the film was a little drawn out in general than warranted.
You know those films - the ones that you walk out of carrying more than when you went in, those films that you think about for days? I am not sure if Bradley Cooper intentionally directed this film that way, or whether he unknowingly set about to awaken something in us all, by exposing the real life of a rockstar as portrayed by his film character Jackson Maine, in the recent release of A STAR IS BORN.
Debuting in a directing and writing role, as well as being the male lead actor, Bradley Cooper has just created something that will leave us all lost for words.
Unveiling the rockstar lifestyle of touring, booze and drugs , Cooper gives the audience the privilege of exposing the unravelling of a talented, lonely rocker who stumbles into a bar and sees the love of his life appear right in front of him ( Gaga).
As the love story of Ally and Jackson unfolds, I am moved to tears by the love that he has for Ally and how he stepped back at exactly the right moments to allow her to shine, then stepped back in when he believed Ally was losing her way.
The story is very much about Jackson Maine, yet the journey is about unselfish, requited, beautiful, honest love.
With heartfelt story book lyrics, the script fills in the blanks of the masterfully purposeful soundtrack. I listened to the sound track on the way home from the cinema in the car and was able to relive every moment.
A Star is Born is a love story unlike any other I have seen in a while. There wasn't a part of my emotions that weren't tethered. Joy, happiness, yearning, fear, anticipation, contentment and pure sadness. That’s a lot to take on in one movie, but Bradley Cooper masterfully managed them all.
In her debut leading role in a Hollywood film, Lady Gaga ( Ally) shone as she portrayed awkward, unassuming Ally. Her character undeniably matching the snippets of the real gaga that she has allowed us to see since she shot to fame in the music world.
A Star is Born did not miss a beat and this is one of those films I am going to tell everyone they HAVE to see regardless of whether they have seen previous versions.
There is something unique and raw about this film that will change everything you thought you knew about stardom.
4 1/2 out of 5 Stars
Ros' alternative review
AStar is Born Melbourne Premier Rivoli Village Cinema Hawthorn East Review by Roslynne Garwood-Webb
Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper), a hard drinking, established musician, is en route to a show when an empty bottle has him searching for a drink. He unexpectedly finds himself in a Drag Queen bar . Performing shortly after his arrival is waitress Ally ( Lady GaGa), who cameos at the Drag bar every Friday night to fulfil her love of singing. Her powerful rendition of La Vien Rose captivates Jack and he seeks her out backstage and waits for her after the show. From here blossoms a beautiful friendship and subsequent love story where the love for another, sees one catapult to stardom whilst the other falls, encapsulating the notion that in order for one star to shine brightly, another must burn out.
Seeing something in Ally that others had chosen to ignore, Jack thrust Ally into the spotlight and encouraged her to believe in herself and share with the world voice and her story. As Ally finds her way in the music industry, concerned that she is losing her way, Jack frequently reminds her of why she started writing music in the first place.
As Ally catapults her career with the help of her producer Rez (Rafi Gavron), in Jack we see what may be mistaken as jealousy , but in fact it is the purest of love, and aconcern that amongst the facade of the Pop Star, Ally has forgotten her true purpose. It is strikingly obvious throughout the film how much Jack loves Ally, the way he looks at her, the way he listens to her and the way he cares for her, it is difficult to remember at times that this is in fact a Hollywood movie and not a documentary.
She is his muse as much as he is hers.
The storyline in this film is a beautiful play of synchronicity. I was moved to tears when I witnessed Jack unassumingly step back at exactly the right moments, yet step back in when he felt Ally was losing her way.
When Ally flew too high, Jack bought her home.
Through his meticulous directing, Cooper makes bold references in relation to some of todays most relevant societal issues, including what it takes to make it to stardom in modern day America, the effects of addiction on close relationships, the loss of loved ones and the dark uncertain world of mental health.
Bradley Cooper performs all of his own songs stating he prepared musically and vocally for the role for 18 months prior to filming, even lowering his natural voice an octave to find the sound that he had envisioned for Jackson Maine.
Fine tuning his talents even more, he also learnt how to play the guitar and piano to a professional level.
In her debut leading role in a Hollywood film, lady Gaga shone as she portrayed awkward, unassuming Ally, her character undeniably matching the snippets of the real gaga that she has allowed us to see since she shot to fame in the music world.
With an ending which will not leave anyone untouched, AStar is Born is set to be the movie of the year. I have no doubt that this film has Oscar awards written all over it.
There is so much raw talent that the lack of dialogue in this film didn't stop the intricate telling of a beautiful yet tragic tale.
If you see this film on the big screen, you will have the privilege of witnessing Ally become famous, but the real star is not born until the very end.
I give this film 4 1/2 out of 5 stars
AStar is Born is released Nationally on 18th October 2018
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll.
Genre: Drama, History.
Running time: 141 Minutes. Film Review: By Maxwell M. Lyons
Everyone knows the name Neil Armstrong; the American hero, the first man on the moon. What he did is known the world over, a cornerstone in the history of man, but who he was as a person and how he came to be the interplanetary icon is a tale much less renowned. First Man, directed by Damien Chazelle and starring Ryan Gosling as the man himself, recounts the life of Armstrong and the events leading up to the first cosmic “leap for mankind”.
For those familiar with Gosling’s acting history, the emotionally binary persona of Armstrong may seem a far cry from the mean, but rest assured it is well within his impressively diverse acting repertoire. The performances of both Gosling and co-star Claire Foy, playing Armstrong’s wife Janet, were nothing short of impeccable, though neither character portrayal would be considered ostentatious; their depth of character was more subtle. Armstrong (true to life) had a very calculating and stoic demeanour, and though sentimentally discerning lacked the expressive capacity to show it, leaving much of the emotional burden to Janet. Whilst this display of authenticity is refreshingly humanistic and provided insight into the couple’s dynamic it shrouded a false pretence of detachment over the dramatic nature of events occurring in parallel – more on this later.
Supporting cast were respectable, if unnoteworthy, with rather shallow character portrayals – not the fault of the actors/actresses per se, the movie just predominantly lacked character development beyond the leading roles, with supporting characters acting as little more than filler, plot-devices, and/or for biographical accuracy. A prime example of this was Buzz Aldrin (Corey Stoll) who, despite being considered unequivocally pivotal to the Gemini/Apollo mission projects (even more so than Armstrong himself), saw all of about 5-minutes of screen time in the near 2.5-hour runtime. Not only that, but for reasons both narratively unexplained and unnecessary Aldrin’s character is portrayed as antagonistic for the most part, though this amounts to nothing in the plot nor any dynamic between characters – despite the smallest of tensious interactions earlier in the movie, there was seemingly no apprehension (or character relationship at all) between the two men aboard the Apollo 11 shuttle. I understand the focus of the film was clearly on Armstrong himself, but the lack of character depth in the supporting roles made for a narrow scope in execution. This was but one of many narrative shortcomings, unfortunately.
As mentioned above, the expressive imbalance between Armstrong and his wife detracted from the drama the movie saw itself as. Rightly so, there were many tragedies throughout all stages of NASA’s near decade-long lunar ambitions, all for what was essentially a d--- measuring contest between USA and Russia. In hindsight, it’s easy to reflect on the endeavour with rose-coloured lenses, but real people suffered harrowing fates of trauma, injury, and death. First Man does try to highlight this point – the questions of “Why?” and “Was it really worth it?” – but it ends up being lost amongst all the other “drama” in Armstrong’s life, itself deprived of the authentic gravity the real-world events encompassed. Put simply, the dramatic narrative felt disconnected, and it was hard to invest in any one incident as they all felt so surface level and isolated it was ultimately boring. The inconsistent and often unclear pacing and timeframe of events only served to compound the ennui.
If there is but one redeeming quality to First Man it is hands down the cinematic experience it marvels. The cinematography is masterfully shot, with digital effects added in post-production to artificially age the film (adding noise and a touch of oversaturation) bringing to life the era in which it portrays. The final scenes of the film (the moon landing), however, transitions to shots taken using an IMAX camera. It’s an experience like no other and leaves you in a state of awe as you experience the breathtaking atmosphere of the lunar landscapes. To top it all off, the implementation of CQI was seamless throughout and truly unified the practical and digital cinematic aspects. My only gripe is perhaps a slight over-reliance of close-up shots, though I assume this was to try to add a sense of emotion to what was an otherwise lacklustre “drama”.
First Man was a conflicting watch. The lead roles were masterfully acted, and the cinematic experience was something to be revered. Unfortunately, ever enjoyable aspect of the film’s composition was undermined by a dramatically stale narrative making for a terribly paced bore of a watch. At 2-hours 20-minutes, I’m not sure I would recommend the time investment – Gosling and Foy are brilliant, but you can see equally outstanding performances in better movies from their filmography; the cinematography is remarkable but perhaps not worth the time investment; and at the very least if you were hoping to learn more about NASA’s Gemini/Apollo lunar projects you’d be far better off reading the Wikipedia page. An exceptionally well-made bore of a watch and one I doubt I’ll be sitting through again.
will be released in cinemas Australia-wide on October 11, 2018.
BOOK WEEK THE FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO Nixco RATE: 9/10
Book Week is a rough (in its best meaning) Australian film with dark but light and very engaging humour and superb acting. Nicholas Cutler ( Alan Dukes) is an English language school teacher. He is a novelist who decided to take a "safer" path in his life. As we know there is a tradition to dress up as a book hero for the Australia schools Book Week. This week: Monday till the end of it is not a fun game at all for Nic. Life shows him its ungraceful face from all the corners at all levels: there are lovers chasing him, there are students acting unsatisfactory, there is an alcohol after all. He looks at us an we see a terrible man. we can not accept it but for some reason we love him. We want him to succeed in life: find the love of his life, find the right path for his career and for god sake: stop drinking! Nic writes a story and he is ready to get it published bu the array of strangest and co-knotted accidents in his life prevent the dream of his life to come true. How does it all happen? I thought it was a genius comedy with lots of story twists and turns and with no much more to say: go watch it and have fun! You will enjoy it!
This film is about human rights. It is highly artistic though neglecting the theme and its dry subject does not prevent it from being artistic and attractive . It is shot in Malaysia and partially in Australia, It mainly focuses on the experience of a Afghan refugee family with three daughters that are waiting for their visa in suspense to migrate to the Australian shores. It mentions the history of the family that was much larger, on its hardships and its dreams that finally turn into a happy reality.
Zahra, one of the sisters though that main attention is concentrated to. Her emotional state while she as part of her family is waiting for her future is touching. We slowly but surely become part of the family connecting with them on the invisible level , feeling for them and expecting the final results for their destiny. It is filmed over seven years and shows the development one this one family on so many levels. The film is full of joy love, fear, happiness and light and very well shown humour. The film breaks our stereotypes on who the people arriving from overseas are and how they fight for the rights to be humans to respect after all...
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST website review by Susan Reynolds
The Miseducation of Cameron Post. 7/10 Directed by Desiree Akhavan
Chloe Grace Moretz: Cameron Steven Hauck: Pastor Crawford Quinn Shephard: Coley Kerry Butler: Ruth
Review by Susan Reynolds
Based on a novel by Emily M. Danforth published in 2012. In 1993 Cameron was in the backseat of a car having sex with the prom queen as a result she’s sent for re-education at God's Promise a conversion centre to make her “un-gay”. She is subjected to methods which clouded and confused identity rather than help individuality. Whilst she complies somewhat with the instruction she isn’t “cured” and is just sitting her time out like the others there until she is allowed to leave.
Shockingly true that even in the 90’s this conversion therapy was some sort of warped answer to being gay. Not surprisingly whether it is done with intent to hurt or not in principle it is antiquated and destructive. Today the principle to live and let live applies more and more and most of us agree with the aspect of ones personal freedom of choice as to how you live your life. It is within some of these backward Christian ideologies that ideas like this are perpetuated.
The movie with its coming of age subject matter is very relevant to society. The overall tone of the film is somewhat subdued when you think it is such an emotive subject. This type of abuse brings topics into focus themes provide relevant arguments for young people trying to come to terms not only with adolescence but also with their sexual identity.
Courtesy of Sue
NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE: JULIE THE FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO Sharmill Films RTE: 9/10
Adams Strandberg/s Julie is one of those plays that will never leave the theater stages of the world, The whole story narrates to only two (plus one) main characters , it is a chamber story, but its cruel and smashing Scandinavian organic nature is unavoidable. It is a modern classical theater in all its power. As I mentioned the location and the main characters are limited. The time is only one night in summer during the party at the Julie's house. The main action takes place in the kitchen. The heroes of the play are the rich daughter of the owner of the house, her father's driver and her house cleaner. We believe the action and we believe the characters - they are nowadays people we meet every day. The situation they play around is also very truthful. Julie is one "modern" girl that has it all, her psychological drama is deep. The role is so rich that any drama actress would be dying to have it in her portfolio. She plays so gorgeously well, no words, superb acting!
In the relationship knots and uncertainties of Miss Julie there is not only the space limited to the kitchen. The running time of the play is only 85 min! This particular production styling is also very modern and the play story line melts in it so beautifully! Miss Julie story travels the world in many faces but this one is so very lovable and so grand you would feel it was lasting for hours, it is intense and it develops fast with its dramatic finale!
Vanessa Kirby of 31 stars so bright in her role! Watch it - you will enjoy it if you like strong stories and deep emotions!
It is a very unusual film with slow pace and seemingly nothing-happening story that tells a lot about its main characters and reveals the secrets and underground water currents of the family life surely and precisely. The film is Israeli-Palestinian. It has got a special humor, inner charm and tells us about the "socium" that we all know little about. It is about an arabian-christian family. A father and a son drive around in one car to deliver the wedding invitations of their daughter-sister to the relatives, friends and more. We are present in the situation, we hardly understand at the start what is going on and the story seems a bit boring but as it develops the little bits and pieces come together and create a beautiful painting out of the puzzle pieces. The film describes different life situations, collisions of characters and next door neighborous with all their difficulties and "small worlds". Very usual though interesting and beautiful film.
“Night School” Comedy Rating 6.5/10 Kevin Hart Tiffany Haddish
Review by Susan Reynolds
Teddy is a successful BBQ salesman who is living the dream, so it seems but it’s far from that in reality. He’s batting he thinks way above his average in his relationship so he keeps up this pretense of being wealthy in front of his girlfriend. Then along comes an opportunity to be a real success, to legitimately impress his woman. He is to inherit his friends BBQ business and he sets a romantic scene to announce this. The ensuing story literally blows up in his face and the business he’d been promised is in cinders.
With no insurance to recover from the disaster and subsequently no job, all looks bleak. Luckily a good business friend coming to the rescue with a proposed job on the proviso that he achieves his GED. In the lead up to the required Night School enrolment he has to do he encounters his would be teacher at the traffic lights. This is one of the most impressive scenes of the film and the banter is fabulous with Night School teacher Carrie (Tiffany Haddish).
After this bizarre interaction he again encounters Carrie at the High School and meets his fellow Night School GED students. It’s his old stomping ground his local high school. His high school nemesis is now the principal Stewart (Taran Killam) who is less than impressed with any idea of Teddy attending but ends up being bulldozed by Carrie who says anyone is welcome in her class. Teddy then meets fellow night school students, a mixed bag of oddball characters with whom Teddy becomes comrades with. There are some fun stereotypes there and good acting. Teacher Carrie invests a lot of time in helping all her students but she’s no fool. Teddy soon realizes that all his charisma, sweet talk and schemes aren’t going to work on her. Including plans to gain an advantage with exam scores.
Carrie has Teddy tested and learns he has dyslexia, dyscalculia and concentration issues. Carrie fights it out with Teddy in the boxing ring to assist his focus; some weird madcap method. The feel good outcome of Teddy being able to overcome his difficulties has a message for kids at school with learning difficulties that they can overcome them. (Even though everyone hasn’t a teacher/boxing pal on hand). Themes do highlight that people all have their strengths and weaknesses. The message is also that success means determination and effort and that there’s no free ticket or easy way.
I had a few real belly laughs but I really don’t think as a whole the film was as clever as it could have been. The film didn’t capitalize on repeating the formula present in pivotal moments. The Humour worked so well in the traffic light banter scene with Carrie and Teddy where the comedy was brilliant.
Director Stephen McCallum's debut Australian film 1%, plummets you instantaneously into the outlaw motorcycle gang underworld. Exploring power in all its transcendence through sex, physicality and psychology, from the roar of the opening credits, this film is certain to take you on one hell of a ride.
If you are a Sons of Anarchy fan the concept of this movie will fascinate you enough to go and see it, but what you should be prepared for is this … you will get ALL of what Sons of Anarchy explores in 7 seasons in a short 90 minutes with McCallum's film debut.
This makes for a brutal, gritty and raw film which may require you to look away at times. 1% tells the story of the Copperheads motorcycle gang. President of the club, ‘Knuck’ Matt Nable), has just spent three years in jail and Vice President, Paddo (Ryan Corr) has been over seeing the club during that time. Just days before Knucks’ release and return to the club, Skink (Josh Mc Conville), Paddos mentally disabled brother and fellow club member, is caught stealing from a rival club. In true underworld style Paddo must make this right by meeting the demands of the rival gang leader (Aaron Pederson), by cutting them in or he will lose his brother. Paddo finds himself faced with three choices, to try and convince his club president Knuck to meet the demands of the cut, kill his brother or make a play for the presidency himself by getting rid of Knuck. With stellar performances from Ryan Corr ( Paddo), Skink (Josh Mc Conville) and with
Aaron Pederson (club president Knuck) serving up more bad-ass than is even comprehendible, this film takes you on a journey into the dark, unpleasant yet curious world of biker gangs where loyalty is everything, until you realise everything isn't quite enough.
I was still thinking about this film and it's ending a few days after the screening. 1% is definitely for the curious but be prepared for the gut wrenching brutality which is not softened even slightly by frequent tenderness and softness between love interests and the amazing bond of brotherhood between Paddo & Skink. I give 1% 4 out of 5 stars
Did she make it? Did the film director Lorna Tucker managed to fulfill her grand task to show us the grand-dame of the British fashion industry from so many sides: as a cool punk , as a social activist and as a fashion icon?
PUNK. Yes, she makes the outfits that could be possible to be worn by punks. Vivien Westwood wears such things herself too. She pronounces "fucking mess" words in each sentence. She never seems polite, nor she seems grateful. She shows her unhappiness every time she feels it or she is really pissed off especially when people ask her very simple questions. She comments on Sex Pistols: Oh god it is so boring! In this she is a real punk in all the meaning of this word that it had back in 70-s. The subculture vanished but Vivien is still there. What she does and how she behaves - same way she did 40 years ago does not have the "frames" we used to have. Do you know the fashion designer who has no idea what marketing is? Can she look at her own things in one of her collections and rejects half of them and tell every one in the room that she is not interested in money. Would the fashion designer rick not to attend her own boutique shop opening just to work on her speech on saving the environment instead? Would she call the entire collection because she does not like the final result of it? In this Westwood with her life principles, her unpredictable behaviour and her honesty is the punk in the power of two.
ICON. In fashion industry icon means - it does not have boundaries, it is not describable, it is not simple, it is not predictable. The word ICON means - the idea of copying the image. We can say then that she is an icon in all its deep meaning. Many people copied her style of dressing since she started to get dressed in her own outfits. Many of her people from her designers' team started to work with her for free when her company was unknown. Cate Moss says in her childhood Westwood was unreachable mountain top, unreachable dream, the role model. Westwood is very natural indeed.
ACTIVIST. Vivien tries to say her word in the environment protection with all her latest collections. She is in Greenpeace and PETA, she travels to Antarctica as an activist. This theme is not that much developed in the film It is only briefly mentioned.
Westwood brand and Vivien's company will never get closed for many reasons: she gives employment to many people at her factory, and secondly because fashion is the only way Vivien can express herself. The money she gets from the business are the tool for her to express even more in this world and to attract as many people to what she is worried about: she is very honest with this - she is organically a punk, she is naturally an icon and she is an activist by heart.
I AM PAUL WALKER website review by Rosalynn Garwood
I am Paul Walker Documentary 2018 Limited Screenings from 21st September)
Nearly 5 years after Paul Walkers tragic death, Director Adrian Buitenhuis presents a behind the scenes insight into his personal and family life. Through raw and intimate conversations with his family members the real Paul walker is revealed as an incredibly humble, generous, free spirit who often struggled with the lifestyle that came with Hollywood.
Acting from the age of 2 in various roles, Paul Walkers acting career was far from its peak at the time of his death. With lead roles in 6 Fast and Furious movies, and notable performances in Skulls (2000), Eight Below (2006), Hours (2013), Walker was offered the lead role in Superman however ironically he chose not to take the role as he feared there would be too many sequels, little did he know that fast and furious would be such a hit that it would extend into 6 blockbuster films.
After years of struggling with the commitment of major film roles and becoming increasingly aware of ‘a lack of time’ to spend with daughter Meadow, Walkers brother Cody shares in the documentary, that he believes his brother was just one film away from finding that balance and finally having the time that he always yearned for, to spend living his true passions which were time with his “best partner ever ( daughter Meadow), his family, surfing, marine biology and humanitarian work.
With raw and emotive tributes from his mother, father, brothers, sister and some of his closest friends, this documentary provides an honest portrait of a seemingly incredibly humble Hollywood star who spent more time giving than he did taking and who was in constant search of an escape to normality when the glare of Hollywood was obstructing his view. 4 out of 5 Stars
A FAMILY DAY OUT LET'S UNITE TO MAKE A CHANGE website review by Benjamin Newall photos: Casey Long
Review on “Let’s Unite To Make a Change” Written By Benjamin Newall and Casey Long
Family Day Out "Let's Unite To Make A Change" and Advanced screening of “Christopher Robin” was organised by Arzum Caglayancay, who is a finalist of the 2018 Mrs Australia Globe. Arzum is a born and raised Melbournian of 31years and is giving her support for ‘Project Karma’ and ‘Life-line’ as the charity for this event and her title reign Arzum chose these charities from her own experience of hard time, having dealt with both extensive bullying and depression as well as several suicide attempts. Arzum knows what it feels like to be at the very bottom and is doing her best to make sure there is always help available to others in the same position, and that they are not alone. The main reason Arzum has decided to be a part of the 2018 Mrs Australia Globe, is to be a voice and use her privileges to continue to be a public servant, to all people from all walks of life. She lives by her saying and refers to everyday; Never judge a soul, lend a hand where you can, pick up someone who has fallen, and unify. Unity and People power cannot be purchased but felt within your heart and soul, then comes the changes we all thought were never possible.” .Arzum has teamed up with Village Cinemas to hold the event “Lets unite to make a change” Village Cinemas have supported and provided exceptional service throughout her journey.
“Christopher Robin” Film Review Written by Benjamin Newall and Casey Long
The history of Winnie the Pooh spans more than a 100 years leading to the most recent live action adaption of the beloved character and story in the movie “Christopher Robin”. The original concept for Winnie comes from the story of “a small bear brought by a man called Harry Colebourn. Colebourn bought a small bear cub for $20 and called it Winniepeg after his home town. He was a soldier who was called to defend the front in 1914. Unable to take the bear with him, he took her to London Zoo. The Author of Winnie the Pooh A.A. Milne constantly took his son Christopher Robin Milne to London zoo to feed and hug Winnie. Christopher was so fond of the bear he changed his teddy’s name from ‘Edward’ to ‘Winnie the Pooh’ after the bear and a swan he fed at the zoo too. ‘Winnie the Pooh’, the character, was then first bought to life in 1924 in a book called ‘When We Were Very Young’. This was shortly followed by a volume of stories called ‘Winnie the Pooh’ in 1926. Both the author and the bear’s original owner fought in the first world war. The pleasant acres of the 100 Acre Woods were a welcomed change from the horror they had seen in war, along with all their readers. In 1966 Pooh was brought to life on our screens for the first time, by Walt Disney, due to his daughter being a massive fan of the Winnie the Pooh books. In 1977 Poohs first feature length film was published. Fast forward 41years and we have the movie “Christopher Robin”. Staring Ewan McGregor as our grownup Christopher Robin and directed by Marc Forster, the same director as Finding Neverland (2004). “Christopher Robin” is the story of what happens when you grow up and grow apart from his childish beliefs. He now has a wife, daughter, demanding job, and all the pressures that come along with these. Between trying to find the work-life balance, Christopher finds himself pushing his daughter away and closing her imagination off. An unexpected visit from Pooh, triggers a memory recall in him. Although his return to the innovative boy he once was is gradual, with Pooh’s help (and the rest of his friends) he is able to be the Christopher Robin that fights Heffalumps and bounce with Tigger. Christopher’s transition through the movie and the nature of the character from the uptight business man to the child in all of us, is a very well-done journey full of laughs, smiles and at times embarrassment. McGregor’s ability to play so many different age ranges all with their own accompanying struggles and emotional traits is superb. Now don’t get me wrong, turning stuff toys into a live action characters had the potential to look really bad, but the visual animation on this movie is something worth seeing just on its own. All the characters from the bouncing energetic Tigger, to the shy quite Piglet right to the loveable head of the group we all want to hug, Winnie the Pooh. These characters are presented with emotion, body language and facial expressions far above what I have seen in movies before. They stuck very closely to the original illustrations in A.A. Mile’s books from the early 1900s capturing the classic image of Winnie the Pooh and his friends. The style and colouring depicts them as older well loved childhood toys. Throughout the film there are perfect moments designed to tug on your heart strings and make you remember what it was like when you were a kid. One of the best examples of this is when Pooh asks for a red balloon at the station with Christopher Robin and is told he does not need it. Pooh simply responds “It would make me very happy to have a red Balloon” This is the prime example of Poohs loveable qualities of being simple minded, content and surprisingly wise for “A bear with very little brain” Poohs words not mine. All in all this was a wonderful movie for those who have grown up with Winnie the Pooh in some way or another. Kids will enjoy it but at times may not understand it. It is designed for the adults who need to be reminded what it is to be a kid again and be reminded “Doing nothing, sometimes leads to the best something” 4 out of 5 star rating for the film. Thoroughly enjoyable and a film the whole family can enjoy.
A new and fresh adaptation of the play by Chekhov is presented in the film directed by Michael Mayer. Unsure what to expect from such a classic, Mayer was able to balance modern uses of cinematography with the classical roots of the play. The film successfully brought across the themes of unrequited love, and you felt yourself as an audience floating between the emotions and desires of each character. Ultimately the adaptation got across the overarching theme of the Seagull but there was room for this to be done better. Billy Howles’ performance as Konstantin and Annette Bening in her role as Irina stood out and really made the story come to life. 3.5/5
PRAYER BEFORE DAWN THE FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO cinema nova RATE: 9.5/10
This is one of the films that touched me somehow very deeply. I could not stop talking about it for a couple of days. The film is for discomforting and so disturbing it is almost revolting but it is so organic and so natural for this type of the movie that after had an hour you will be glued to the screen and will not even think about leaving. You will share the hardship and the pain of the main character. It is still really hard to watch this film. The emotional pressure from the film is beyond any possible expectations: shocking is one word. You simply get filled up with violence that does not know any possible boundaries. There are just glimpses of light on the path the main character goes through. He is the young British boxer in Thailand who sins with drugs and gets caught by the Thai police that locks him up in the jail which cruelty is nothing the audience has ever seen on screen. The environment is so inhuman I suspect I have no comparison to it even in animal world. There is no light in the jail cell: it is so unstable, the camera is so short and so "loud" on small scenes and episodes - it almost feels like a boxer's punch in the face. You add t this cocktail the bodies tattooed all over - hundreds of them, you add to that that all this tattooed bodies live in one small cell and sleep almost on each other like herrings in the jar., you add t this unknown dialogues of the Thai speeches from every room corner, the speeches that are not translated (and the main character Billy does no speak the language) - and you get the complete picture of his brutal reality. It is violence and endless physical pain the air is filled up with in the jail. To "teach" a newcomer the "head" of the cell violently rapes a young man in front of Billy's eyes and the "assistants of the "boss" encourage him to watch the whole scene. The soundtrack hits you over your head like a hammer. Thee music is a mixture of local traditional instruments and electronic. It feels even more disturbing. I asked myself only one question: why do I need to see this lowest part of the human life on Earth? Why do I feel for Billy who finds any chance to survive and get out from this hell? Suddenly we find out that Bully has a father. He searches for warmth and finds it with a transsexual man. He is stubborn and wants to fight, he is a boxer after all. The boxing in the jail is not a bloody mess but it is a way of expressing himself and a way to find a breath of fresh air. He finds the courage ad will to survive and get out of this misery. The final of the film is very limited on emotions . It happens when Billy meets his father in jail. It is silent but it is very powerful. The film is based on real events about the boxer Bill Moore who appears in front of our eyes in the figure of Billy's father. He is the men who found the way out of this abyss... You will love this film!
Concise Critique: Johnny English Strikes Again By Maxwell M. Lyons
Johnny English Strikes Again is the third film in the Johnny English comedy series. To be frank, if you’re expecting anything more than a light-hearted 90-minutes of comedic absurdity, you’ve come to the wrong neighbourhood. The acting is adequate, the narrative is thin, and the comedy is basic, but all-in-all you’re in for a mindless jocose watch of a forgetful jocular nature.
Rowan Atkinson returns as clumsily capable, awkwardly suave secret agent English, Johnny English. If you’re at all familiar with the other films, you know very well what you’re in for. Is it the most high-class sophisticated humour? No, not in the slightest. But is there still enjoyment and perhaps a good chuckle or two to be had? More than likely. The jokes and situational comedy can be seen from a mile away, and the setup is undoubtedly less than subtle, but the movie doesn’t quite go so low as slapstick – which I found refreshing. Being at its heart a movie targeted to a younger demographic, this much scrutiny is perhaps unwarranted – I can confidently say the audience in attendance, both young and old, exuded a constant stream of laughter throughout.
As for performances, they were adequate enough to fill their respective roles. Again, this isn’t high-class cinema here, so don’t expect much character depth or development, but overall, they carried themselves respectably. As alluded to above, performances weren’t the only aspect of indubitably thin fabrication. The narrative was thin, straightforward, and unimaginative. A hacker has uncovered the identity of all known British intelligence operatives, so the government is forced to bring someone out of retirement to complete a noticeably low-tech “analogue” style mission to combat the continued cyber-attacks and stop them before they bring the country to its knees. And who might that retired agent be, well, the title of the film might give you a hint.
I will say the whole “analogue” angle, whilst predominantly an excuse to facilitate English’s older-style spy techniques, does lend itself to some humorous on the nose commentary about modern technologies and the protocols we’ve established along with them – all without being a blatantly brazen generation shaming, incredible I know. But that’s pretty much where any intellectual motif stops, and the mindlessness consumes the whole.
Overall, it’d be amiss for me to recommend paying full ticket price for Johnny English Strikes Again. Though there is mindless fun to be had, it’s not quite enough to warrant a standard cinematic viewing. With that said, if you’re looking for a film to take the kids to, it might be worth checking out if you can score some tickets to a discounted session. Enjoyable, but ultimately forgettable.
Johnny English Strikes Again will be released in cinemas Australia-wide on September 20, 2018.
We were not disappointed! What an amazing movie for kids of all ages and size. This movie can be enjoyed by the entire family aging from 1 to 100. Everyone will enjoy a laugh! The audience will adore the characters, the visuals, and the amazing music, but more importantly, they'll be bequeathed with a message worthy of their hearts and minds. It's funny yet sends a loving message to all.
AMERICAN ANIMALS THE FILM TO PAY ATTENTION TO madman RATE: 9/10
How to plan a very daring criminal act? This film will tell you exactly how: the instructions are so precise the most experienced criminal will say: wow! But one note this act is performed by four very innocent young adults to attend Universities and colleges. What? Yes! The robbery goes according to the plan , the police is fulled and the criminals go and have a good time with their stolen goods... so you think I tell you now a fairy tale? Of course I am... In reality the plan never works as you know. The difference between reality and dreams is huge and I believe the students were very innocent and naive to assume that their plan will work. The story is based though on real events. More to that: we meet with four real criminals. They are interviewed during the film, we get their insight on the order of the events. These interviews are smartly blend into the main story line and seem so natural connecting the events from the past and the present time. The whole movie seems so well flowing with the documentary incorporated into it. It works very well. The first line we read in the film says: " This move is not based on real story. It IS a real story" All four criminals tell their version of the story. They tell it from the wisdom of their understanding nowadays that the plan was stupid and that they did not calculate it very well. They talk about the events that took place 14 years ago with a but of a self irony but the story does not loose its dramatic feel anyway. Nevertheless the documentary is quite exciting to watch the main attention of the director is focused on the events from the past. I always think the young and rich go into such criminal activity for one reason only: they are bored, there is no enough adrenaline in their lives. The bored mind creates and draws the adventures. The busy mind would never do that. The busy mind of the normal young adult studies, learns, explores and gets the extra knowledge from good books, art and sport. The wandering and low mind tries to understand its "belonging" to this world thorough suspicious activity: alcohol, drugs, stealing and sexual adventures that only hurt him and the others. Imagine suddenly the wondering and very low in its development mid sees a very expensive thing. All the minds thinks about: how to be lazy and how to spend the money . The low mind never creates - it destroys. It uses the goods created by the others to its own advantage. The criminal acts of such minds are as a rue always very messy , stupid and badly planned. The criminal act itself is shown in all its ugliness: the music of the soundtrack is hilarious, the seemingly simple procedure of "silencing" the "guard" is turned into a cruel scene of stupid and unforgivable violence, the doors are not opening and our four boys are not supermen plus the the stolen goods are so heavy they can not run far with them. I am adding to this: the soundtrack is superb and the camera is so good you will love each and every move of it. The main actors are all beyond any possible expectations: crazy, empty souls with ugly and unlovable faces. One of the questions asked in the film: there is the point of not coming back when you cross the line ? You can only find out the answer by crossing that line. From the film you suddenly realise that the prison did not teach them anything. If it was an opportunity to repeat the "adventure" they would do it again. I did not trust anyone of them. Honestly, I did not... It is a superbly made film and you will love it!
Concise Critique: A Simple Favour By Maxwell M. Lyons
Based on Darcy Bell's novel of the same title, A Simple Favour tells an unexpectedly dark tale of twisted adoration, thriller intrigue, and fervid reprisal hidden beneath the surface of a would-be odd-couple comedy. Though at times it shows its hand a little prematurely, for the most part, there remains enough mystery and enjoyable character work to carry the film and keep you invested as the secrecy unfolds.
Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) is a prudish widowed mother with high moralistic convictions but not a backbone to match. Though well-intentioned, her chirpy yet pragmatic nature conflicts with the all-too-judgmental parents of the PTA at her son’s school. One of the other mothers, Emily (Blake Lively), shares similar social pariah, yet for completely opposing idiosyncrasies; she is aloof, opulent, and unapologetically brusque in character. After an initial encounter Emily invites Stephanie over for an afternoon cocktail, and so the film looks to go the route of the odd-couple comedy; two opposing personalities brought together by a common social exile. Emily finds sadistic amusement in poking at Stephanie’s many insecurities, and Stephanie is all too eager to have a “best friend” in her life – going out of her way to accommodate a slew of requests by Emily even at her own inconvenience. It’s all innocent fun until Emily suddenly disappears and the real mystery begins to unfold.
Though the narrative progresses fairly well, it does tend to show its hand a little prematurely at times, taking away from the suspense of the situation. There are also times in which the characters behave a bit beyond suspension of disbelief, trading plot convenience for natural development and logical character demeanour. In saying that, there is still much enjoyment to be had, and for the most part there is always a small element of the mystery that remains until the very end.
The main cast of actors performed notably well in their roles, especially to the credit of Lively whose portrayal of Emily is gripping and impeccable throughout. Kendrick plays Stephanie remarkably, however, at this point, it does seem like a bit of a type-cast; not that her character wasn’t fun to watch, just that if you’re familiar at all with Kendrick’s filmography you’ve probably seen it before. With that said, Stephanie is really the only people in the film to exhibit any character development, taking on the more confident morally questionable aspects of Emily’s persona – albeit to a questionably believable degree. The child actors playing each character’s respective sons did an adequate job, and Henry Golding (playing Emily’s husband Sean) puts on a fairly respectable, if not overly noteworthy performance – in all honesty, I feel his character adds more narrative baggage than necessary, but I guess it was deemed more entrancing to have a romantic subplot in there (to each their own).
As a whole, A Simple Favour presents a fairly gripping thriller with a surprisingly complex narrative capably performed by an all-too-enjoyable cast of distinct personalities. Though the film shows fault in pacing and narrative reveal, there is plenty of entertainment to be had, albeit requiring some suspension of disbelief. Writer Jessica Sharzer and director Paul Feig have done a commendable job in translating Bell’s novel to the big screen, and with such acting draw as Kendrick and Lively I find it hard to not recommend it to lovers of mystery and suspenseful enthral. A Simple Favour will be released in cinemas Australia-wide on September 13, 2018.